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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2000

Toledo plans to remodel its permit laws

The city administration wants to make it easier and cheaper for Toledo residents to tackle basic home-remodeling projects.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner yesterday proposed eliminating permits and inspections for home improvements that do not affect the structural safety of houses. The work exempt from permits would include replacement of windows, roofs, and siding, and the construction of decks that are not more than 30 inches above the finished grade, he said.

The $35 to $100 contractors pay for permits for such jobs would be replaced by a $30 fee to register the work. The registration is aimed at protecting homeowners from fraudulent contractors.

The plan would eliminate the week or longer homeowners must wait for an inspector to schedule a final review of a project. With a booming economy spurring home improvements, the administration wants to “cut red tape,” the mayor said.

Mike Stanford, commissioner of inspections, said the change was patterned after one recently adopted in Columbus. The loss to his department would be about $60,000 a year in permit fees, he said. However, the change would free up inspectors to concentrate on reviewing work on new construction or home remodeling that deals with major structural changes, he said.

The administration is sending the plan to city council, which must approve it.

The idea was well received by members of the Toledo Home Remodelers Association, who attended the mayor's announcement. Bob Bollin, the association's president-elect, said the plan will help eliminate red tape and traffic in the building inspection department.

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